Since becoming illegal, internet piracy has been a hot topic. Sales figures from the record industry show that fewer people are buying CDs. The companies claim that a large part of their revenue is lost to illegal downloads. The area is hard to research since much of the activity is done in secret.
The explanations to why people download music illegally range from the demoralisation of today’s youngsters (a classic!) to the price of CDs being too high. The American Assembly, a part of Columbia University, have actually asked people. They confirmed a few expected things: piracy is very common, especially among 18–29 year-olds. This is also the age group with very large digital music collections. In addition to the expected, the study found that because of a genuine interest in music the biggest pirates are also the biggest music consumers. The anti-piracy organisation in the US has dismissed the results as misleading.
It confirms that the record companies would rather sell a few CDs to as many as possible than a lot of music to few with a genuine interest. Traditionally, when you run a business you treat your regulars (or the costumers sharing a passion for what you do) the best and hope for repeat business.
No wonder record companies are going down.